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Baby It’s Cold Outside: Tips for Winter-Proofing Your Home

2013-11-04
By: Advocate Brokerage

This winter is already shaping up to be quite a cold one. With a record-breaking snowstorm slamming South Dakota in early October and freezing temperatures all across the Midwest, predictions that the 2013-2014 winter season will be a doozy are looking right on target. You and yours should be prepared for heavy snows and chilly temperatures, and here at Advocate Brokerage, we’d like to help!

Winter is notorious for bringing with it all sorts of maladies for homeowners, from freezing pipes to cracking walls to flooding basements, but most cold-related disasters can be avoided by taking a few simple steps to protect your home from freezing temperatures and howling wind. Fall is the best time to winter-proof your home too. Here are some tips:

  • Clean out your gutters. If leaves, sticks, and other debris are clogging them up, a condition called ice damming can occur—water is unable to drain through the gutters and instead seeps into the house, causing water to drip from the ceilings and walls
  • Install gutter guards. They protect debris from entering the gutter in the first place! They are available at most hardware or home stores.
  • Repair steps and handrails – broken stairs can become a death trap when covered in snow and ice; fixing them can prevent someone from falling and being seriously injured.
  • Trim trees and remove any dead branches – the fewer things that can fall on you, the better! Snow, ice, and wind can cause weak trees to break and damage your home or car.
  • Have the heating system serviced. Furnaces and boilers should be checked at least once a year to prevent fires.
  • Be aware of the dangers of space heaters: while they do keep you warm and toasty, they can cause fires if not properly attended to. 
  • Add extra insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Too much heat escaping can cause snow to melt and re-freeze on the roof, causing more build up. This can lead to a collapsed roof, which is catastrophic for any home owner. Well-insulated basements and crawl spaces will also help protect pipes from freezing.
  • Check your pipes, and if you find any cracks or leaks, have them repaired immediately
  • Make sure that all your smoke and fire alarms are working correctly – house fires increase in winter time, so it’s important that these safeguards are in top working order
  • Learn how to shut off your water and know where your pipes are. If they freeze, its imperative that you shut the water off as quickly as you can – the faster you do, the better chance you have of preventing them from bursting.

If the worst happens, don’t panic. Standard homeowners polices cover most winter-related disasters such as burst pipes or wind or ice damage. Just to be sure, check with your carrier to see exactly what you’re covered for. We hope these tips are helpful! Try to stay warm 🙂 . 

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